Ousters, upsets halfway through 2022 primary election season

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COLUMBIA, SC — For more than half a turbulent primary season, voters have made judgments in a series of contests that many candidates have argued best represented a continuation of policies favored by former President Donald Trump.

Though he wasn’t on the ballot himself, Trump has played a role in several races, with candidates who carried his support achieving a variety of electoral results. There were also falls from several incumbents, some knocked out by Trump-backed challengers and others defeated by other representatives in faceoffs forced by redistribution.

Here’s what’s happened so far in primary races across the country:

Eight incumbents — three Democrats and five Republicans — lost their seats in the US House of Representatives earlier this year after losing their primary.

Four of those losses occurred in incumbent-incumbent races, reflecting the redistribution process that occurs every ten years. But the other four were defeated by insurgent challengers after finding themselves vulnerable to scandal, investigation, irritating progressives or overcoming Trump.

Seven-year-old centrist Democratic US Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon fell to progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner in his May 17 primary. Schrader had angered many Democrats by opposing some of President Joe Biden’s priorities, including a $1.9 trillion bill to ease the coronavirus pandemic, by not supporting a minimum wage hike.

Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina was defeated by Senator Chuck Edwards after a whirlwind of scandals, including Cawthorn’s testimony that he had been invited to cocaine orgies, been caught twice with guns in airports and appeared in videos showing him being sexually suggestive poses

On June 14, five-year-old GOP Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina lost his re-election bid to state Rep. Russell Fry after he voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. And on June 28, six-year-old Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo lost a runoff to Sheriff Mike Ezell after he was accused in a congressional ethics report of misspending campaign funds.


The redistribution guaranteed that some incumbents in the US House of Representatives would be ousted.

The first to fall was Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia, who voted with Democrats for Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, betting that West Virginians would reward him for being one prioritize such funding in one of the poorest states. Instead, they dumped him for Rep. Alex Mooney, who opposed the infrastructure bill. Mooney won Trump’s endorsement the day Biden signed the measure into law.

In Georgia, Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath, a gun safety advocate, went to the district after a GOP-dominated legislature turned her home territory into a Republican stronghold. She defeated her Democratic MP Carolyn Bourdeaux, who said she considered McBath a “sister.”

Two Illinois incumbents lost their seats last week as Republican Rep. Mary Miller defeated five-year Republican Rep. Rodney Davis and Democratic Rep. Sean Casten defeated single-term Democratic Rep. Marie Newman.

Miller won days after she overturned the Supreme Court’s decision to overthrow Roe v. Wade called a “historic victory for white life” during a rally with Trump. Miller misspoke, her spokesman said.

Still irritated by his loss to Biden in the 2020 presidential election, Trump vowed revenge on Republicans who opposed him.

He focused on Georgia and recruited challengers for Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who had rebuffed his efforts to reverse his narrow defeat at the state. But he failed as Kemp easily knocked back former Sen. David Perdue and Raffensperger defeated Rep. Jody Hice.

Trump also directed his anger at Republicans in the 10th House of Representatives, who voted with Democrats to impeach him for his role in the January 6 riot. Four decided against re-election.

But of those who stayed to fight, Rice lost first, a result he conceded was possible on a vote he said his conscience compelled him to take. Another, Rep. David Valadao of California, finished second in his primary, meaning he advanced to November’s general election as one of the top two finishers.

Four of the Republicans in the House of Representatives are still awaiting their primaries.

In South Carolina, Trump targeted another GOP incumbent, Rep. Nancy Mace, after her criticism of his role in the Jan. 6 attack and her vote to confirm Biden’s victory. Mace resisted her challenge from Katie Arrington, a Trump-backed opponent.

Trump helped lead some US Senate candidates to victory. In Ohio, he endorsed Hillbilly Elegy writer JD Vance after a furious push from Vance’s opponents to win Trump’s favor. Confirmation just three weeks before the election gave Vance a win.

dr Mehmet Oz received Trump’s seal of approval about five weeks before the Pennsylvania primary, a blow to former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, whose wife, Dina Powell, served in Trump’s administration. Oz earned a narrow win over McCormick after a recount.

In North Carolina, Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd a year before his primary, singled out the little-known congressman from a field of 14 candidates to win the GOP Senate nomination.

Trump also waded into statewide races, backing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against main challenger George P. Bush. Trump rewarded Paxton for petitioning the US Supreme Court to quash the 2020 election — an effort prosecutors called “dishonest” as they sought to punish him for it.

Katie Britt nearly won a GOP primary directly to replace her boss, retiring Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, but ended up in a runoff with longtime Rep. Mo Brooks, whom Trump initially supported before leaving received its approval when Brooks’ poll slacked off. Trump only endorsed Britt after she finished first in the primary.

Republican voters in Nebraska rejected Trump’s gubernatorial election, businessman Charles Herbster, who was accused late in the campaign of groping several women, and instead chose University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen as their nominee. In a US home race in Georgia, GOP voters chose trucking company owner Mike Collins over Vernon Jones, a Trump-backed Democrat-turned-Republican.

Voters handed primary victories to some candidates who supported Trump’s lies that Biden’s election victory was illegitimate. These false claims have been firmly denied by election officials, Trump’s own attorney general, and the courts, including judges he appointed.

Nonetheless, State Senator Doug Mastriano won the crowded Republican gubernatorial primary in Pennsylvania. He was subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol for his role in a plan to arrange an “alternate” list of Pennsylvania electors for Trump after the 2020 election.

Trump’s pick for Nevada Secretary of State, former state legislator Jim Marchant, won his primary after arguing for months that there had been no legitimate election in Nevada for years and that Trump’s victory had been stolen.

In Idaho, Trump’s insurgent candidate Lt. gov. Janice McGeachin in her attempt to oust Gov. Brad Little. McGeachin had said she would “bring integrity to the Idaho election” without citing any inconsistencies. She also said she will push for a forensic review of the 2020 elections in 50 states.

In Colorado, GOP voters picked Pam Anderson as their nominee for secretary of state over Tina Peters, an indicted county clerk who rose to national notoriety for spreading voting machine conspiracy theories. Anderson had vowed to keep politics out of conducting elections, while Peters was charged with seven offenses in which she accused her of taking part in a “deceptive scheme” to violate voting system technology.

The primary season resumes in earnest in August, with a number of high-profile races yet to be decided.

Rep. Liz Cheney faces a tough major challenge August 16 in Wyoming after voting to impeach Trump and becoming vice chair of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot. Trump endorsed Harriet Hageman in the race.

In Arizona, one of five battleground states Biden overturned, the former president backed a list of loyalists promoting his bogus election claims. In the gubernatorial race, he endorsed former TV news anchor Kari Lake over developer Karrin Taylor Robson for the GOP nomination to replace Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who resisted pressure from Trump in the election year and is barred from running for another term.

In the US Senate race in Arizona, Trump is backing investor Blake Masters for the GOP nomination to face Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly in November. Masters has said “I think Trump won 2020” and has championed the baseless “great replacement” conspiracy theory, a racist ideology that says whites and their influence will be replaced by people of color.

And in the Arizona Secretary of State race, Trump endorsed Rep. Mark Finchem, who was photographed in front of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, working to reverse Trump’s 2020 defeat.

In Michigan, one of the country’s key battleground states, Republicans suffered setbacks in their bid to defeat Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November. Five GOP candidates failed to qualify for the August 2 primary after submitting forged signatures collected by paid petition circulators. Another candidate, Republican Ryan Kelley, was charged last month with misdemeanor related to the Jan. 6 attack.

Establishment Republicans are concerned about the August 2 GOP US Senate primary in Missouri, where former Gov. Eric Greitens is trying to make a political comeback after resigning four years ago amid possible investigations Questions about campaign finance and whether he was blackmailed a woman against speaking about her extramarital affair. Some Republicans fear Greitens is a weak candidate for the general election that could give the Democrats a secure seat.

Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

For full coverage of the Midterms, follow AP at and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

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